Florida Gulf Family Trip

Last year I went to visit my parents in Panama City Beach extremely pregnant, and trying to hide the massive baby bump until I got to the beach. This year, it was even more exciting while trying to entertain my almost one-year old for two long flights after being up at 3:00AM.

Drew upgraded to first class!
Drew upgraded to first class!

Drew, my little champion, and I went the airport bright and early for our 5:50AM flight. It was pretty busy at the Pittsburgh airport for that hour – I was a bit surprised. Usually I travel with Drew strapped to my chest, but he is getting pretty heavy for both my carriers and I wanted to go on long walks in Florida, so we decided to lug the big joggling stroller through the airport. The plan went off without a hitch. At 4:20AM, you could catch me pushing a jogging stroller in the rain while dragging my suitcase and two purses across the PIT airport parking lot. It was a chaotic sight. It must have been pretty entertaining because an airport staff said, “Whew, now THAT’S a mom! Bringing that baby everywhere!” Haha – yes, you are correct! Spot on.

Drew and I in the airplane!
Drew and I in the airplane!

We were strolling around the airport and rolled into our gate last minute only to find out that we had been upgraded to first class – booya! Drew’s first upgrade. It was amazing to have a whole side alone while my little wiggle worm was overtired at 5AM. We snuggled, he napped briefly until they brought out the breakfast of oatmeal and fruit. It was a blessing the whole breakfast didn’t end up on the floor really, Drew is much too active for silverware and glasses of juice! Before we knew it, we were in Houston for a long layover. I walked around and my man wasn’t interested in napping with all the action in the airport. We ran into another mom who had been stuck in the airport for close to 5-6 hours already and didn’t have any baby food or formula. I gladly offered up the remaining pouches we had before we boarded the next plane. We were happy to help another traveling mom!

Mom brought me raspberries!
Mom brought me raspberries!

The next flight, Drew had his way with my hair and my arms were exhausted trying to contain his active body. It was overwhelming. Now I understand why people pay for the extra seat for their child after a certain age. Many people were offering to help me – meaning I was either looking like a wreck or they could feel the chaotic energy radiating from me and my active child. Either way, I have learned to accept the help, and shortly after we were in Panama City Beach! Paul, Mom and Dad were waiting for us to begin the vacation!

Caffeine, who needs it?
Caffeine, who needs it?

The weather didn’t exactly cooperate the first few days, but we were able to get out for a nice walk before the 48 hours of rain set in. We went to an Easter service and did some shopping for Drew over the weekend. My goal was to get Drew some sneakers, and we sure got an awesome deal at the Nike Factory outlet. I had to get him shoes that resembled his mother’s in her prime basketball days – the bright red swoops!

It was nice spending time together as a family. We didn’t do too much out of the ordinary, but really enjoyed each other. Paul and I shared plenty of laughs, and stayed up too late watching movies even though we planned to use the vacation to recharge. We took care of some paperwork and chased around Paul’s IPhone so it could finally be delivered.

Baby's new shoes!
Baby’s new shoes!

One of the crazier developments of the vacation was that Paul’s friend Dave was vacationing 15 minutes away at the same time. What are the odds? They live in Nashville while we are in Pittsburgh, so it was the perfect opportunity to connect over dinner. We met up with them for pizza and caught up about their soon to be new addition to the family, work and life. It was so nice to spend time with them in such a relaxing environment. It was a twist of fate really. They were staying at a rental cabin in Seaside – it was such a cute and cozy place.

Another afternoon we enjoyed my Uncle Tuffy’s home cooking. He is a mean cook and put on a spread of fried perch, tuna steak, and ruby red shrimp. It was fantastic. I could barely move.

Dinner at Uncle Toms! Trying out the new cooking machine.
Dinner at Uncle Toms! Trying out the new cooking machine.

The following day we enjoyed a walk and got Paul packed up to leave for Cleveland. We snuck a few more minutes of sun on the beach and then loaded up the truck to take Paul to the airport about an hour away. He was on his way to Cleveland to work a long shift before boarding the plane again to San Diego for the national cardiac anesthesia conference where he was presenting a poster and giving a talk. I am so excited for him to have this opportunity. Hopefully I’ll be able to join him at the conference in the coming years.

What is this sand stuff?
What is this sand stuff?
At the beach with dad!
At the beach with dad!

I am sure grateful for this extended time together with Paul and my parents. I made a pact with my parents to see each other once a month after Drew was born, and somehow we have managed to pull it off amongst our busy schedules. A lot of beautiful things have happened since I last stood on the Florida beach, very pregnant. What a wonderful year.

Panama City Beach vacation!
Panama City Beach vacation!

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